PCHR Concerned He May be Tortured, Israeli Forces Arrest Patient while Heading to Israeli Hospital for Medical Treatment


Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Press Releases, 18 November 2013

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly arresting a patient from the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces at Beit Hanoun „Erez“ while he was heading to al-Muttale‘ Hospital in Jerusalem for medical treatment. PCHR is concerned that the arrested patient may be tortured, especially as he must undergo an operation.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 08:00 on Thursday, 14 November 2013, Israeli forces arrested Abdullah Ahmed Ouda Abu Athera (24), from al-Shaboura neighborhood in Rafah, when he went to an interview with the Israeli intelligence service at Erez crossing to check whether he could travel to have the operation. The patient has been in detention so far.

His father Ahmed Ouda Salman Abu ‚Athera (53), from Rafah, stated to PCHR’s fieldworker:

„On Wednesday evening, 13 November 2013, I received a phone call from the Civil Liaison Office in Gaza. I was told that an appointment was assigned for my son’s interview with the Israeli intelligence service at Erez crossing to decide whether he would be allowed to travel for the operation or not. At approximately 08:00 on Thursday, 14 November 2013, Abdullah went to the crossing and never returned home. I contacted the Civil Liaison Office in Gaza to know why my son did not return home. On the following day, I was told that the Israeli intelligence service arrested him.”

It should be noted that Abdullah has been suffering from hearing disorders for 3 years and that he obtained an application form no. 1 from the External Medical Treatment Department to undergo an operation at Augusta Victoria (al-Muttale‘) Hospital. It was scheduled that he would undergo the operation on Friday, 15 November 2013.“    

It should be noted also that Israeli forces have tightened the closure on the Gaza Strip denying civilians the freedom of movement and travel from and to the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Erez crossing is considered the sole outlet for the Gaza Strip population to the West Bank, including Jerusalem, especially patients who find no treatment in the Gaza Strip hospitals. Israeli forces make use of Erez crossing to blackmail or arrest patients or their companions. PCHR documented the detention of 8 patients since the beginning of 2013.

PCHR believes that Israeli forces’ policy of arresting patients is a clear violation of the international humanitarian law. It also constitutes a form of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, especially as this policy is practiced under the illegal closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, which increases the suffering of patients whose treatment is not available in the Gaza Strip.

In light of the above, PCHR:

Strongly condemns arresting Palestinian patients by Israeli forces while heading for medical treatment and demands the immediate release of all patients and guarantee their lives will not be at risk;

Stresses the seriousness of targeting and blackmailing patients and making advantage of their need to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or the West Bank;

Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to fulfill their obligations and responsibilities by taking immediate action to put an end to violations of the international humanitarian law committed by Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians; and

Demands guaranteeing the freedom of movement and travel of the Palestinian civilians from and to the West Bank, including Jerusalem.